Kanji Kanban #283

learn-kanji-Japanese-sign-daruma-san-zen-283b

learn-kanji-Japanese-sign-daruma-san-zen-283a

 

 

禅ってなに

Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool with my transcription below the photo if you need help reading the Japanese translation that follows the English question posed on this poster. Click on the photos to enlarge them and see the characters more clearly.

If you haven’t already guessed, the lone kanji  in that question is the character for ‘zen.’

I noticed this at Kyoto’s Daitokuji Temple, a short stroll from my house.  It’s advertising a recent event, and I was drawn to it because of its design and the way it uses English to convey information to a Japanese audience about such a traditional subject.

Even though it’s aimed at non-native  speakers, because the English is basic, brief  and includes the familiar word ‘zen’ it  works well in drawing attention to its message in a distinctive, creative, open minded way that stays true to the spirit of its purpose.

Along the same lines,  I was also struck by the way it incorporates a suitably simple, semi-abstract depiction of a daruma doll into its design that seems to mimic the question mark.  Daruma are round, hollow dolls that represent the founder of the zen sect of Buddhism. You can find photos of and information about daruma here.

The numbers below refer to the kanji I’ve transcribed below the photo, and correspond to its order of appearance in both Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji and Kanji in Context.

To learn more about how this information can help you learn kanji, please read this.

Heisig(H1930)

Kanji In Context(KIC589)